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Profile for Mark Colangelo > Reviews


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Gremlins (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
Gremlins (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Zach Galligan
8 used & new from $3.25

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 80's Feature looks the best it can on Blu-ray, March 11, 2010
The movie -- I first saw Gremlins when I was a teenager, and I was drawn to the anarchic, irreverent, dark humor of the film. Seeing it decades later as an adult has rubbed off some of its luster -- the pacing is odd at times, and the synthesizer soundtrack is dated. Some of the special effects look clunky, such as the puppets used in some of the long shots. (But I prefer them to today's CGI effects, which look cold and sterile.) I still think it's an entertaining movie, though.

Image Quality of the Blu-ray -- This Blu-ray disc is the best I've seen this film look on home video. However, don't get your hopes up. This movie was a low budget affair shot on film stock with grain the size of golf balls. It's never going to look as clean as today's slick, plastic movies, even remastered in High Definition.

The Extras -- Extras are plentiful. There's two commentaries by the director Joe Dante and crew, outtakes and deleted scenes, and a TV special that aired back in the 80's to promote the feature.

Gremlins has a reputation as a film for children, probably because of Speilberg's involvement, and the cute Gizmo character. However, this movie, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was controversial because its use of violence was too intense for a PG rated film. The PG-13 rating was created because of this. It would benefit parents to consider that if they're thinking of buying this video for their kids.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2010 4:46 AM PDT

Momitsu BDP-799 Blu-ray DVD Player Region Free
Momitsu BDP-799 Blu-ray DVD Player Region Free

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Player is Too Noisy, March 10, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted a multi-region player, specifically the Momitsu BDP-899 because of the rave review it received at [...]. However, that unit was sold out. In its place Momitsu offered the BDP-799, a new pared down model, which I then ordered.

I had this player for only a day before I returned it. The first time I played a DVD I heard a constant high-pitched whirring or ringing noise coming from the player. It reminded me of the sound a cicada insect makes during the hot afternoons in Summertime. It's really noticeable during the quiet moments of a movie. Even in a cabinet with the glass door shut I could still hear it. I found it really annoying, and couldn't deal with it after awhile. Maybe I have sensitive ears, and for some people perhaps this isn't such a deal breaker, but I'd rather just get another player. The remote was also awkward.

The shame of it is that the picture quality was excellent, especially when it upscaled standard DVDs. I liked design and compact size of the player, too. I never got to test its multi-region capabilities, so I can't comment on that. I hear that the Momitsu BDP-899 is a quieter player, and does not have the same noisy problem that the 799 has. I would say if you want a region free player, to pay a little more and get the 899, if you can find it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2010 2:15 PM PDT

Pinocchio (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live) [Blu-ray]
Pinocchio (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Mel Blanc
Offered by Disney Vault
Price: $128.89
20 used & new from $34.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minor Flaw Mars Near Perfect Restoration, August 2, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Visually, the re-mastering on this classic Disney animated feature is flawless. However, in terms of audio, there is a minor problem -- a few lines of dialog are missing! During the musically number "Give a Little Whistle" Jiminy's line "Right!" and his warning "Look out, Pinoke!" are absent. I realize it's a minor mistake, but it irks me just the same that, for all the care that went into the restoration of this classic, somehow someone missed this error. For that I have to leave off one star, because every time I watch my new Blu-ray disc of Pinocchio I notice what's missing.

Twilight Zone - The Movie [Blu-ray]
Twilight Zone - The Movie [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Joe Dante
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $44.99
16 used & new from $31.83

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Movie Looks Good on Blu-ray, July 19, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Twilight Zone - the Movie is a bit of a mess as a film. Only the last two segments are any good, along with the humorous introduction before the title sequence. The original Twilight Zone episodes were much better.

If you like the film, though, you can't do much better than to get the Blu-ray version. It looks the best by far, as if the film was shot and printed recently. Clarity and detail look great, especially considering the age of the film.

The only extra included is the theatrical trailer, which isn't much. Tragedy haunts this film, so maybe the producers of the DVD and BD didn't want any extras included that would delve into that history.

The Shining [Blu-ray]
The Shining [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Price: $13.92
50 used & new from $6.65

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray of THE SHINING the Best Version of This Film, July 12, 2009
This review is from: The Shining [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I won't go into the details of the plot of the picture. I just want to mention that the Blu-ray version of this film is the best I've seen it in years! The HD picture quality is amazing -- more clarity, depth, and richness of color. The Blu-ray also retains the original theatrical aspect ratio. (Even though the film was shot at 1.33:1 it was matted at 1.85:1 for movie theaters.) In the full screen version presented on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD, helicopter blades can be seen at the top of the screen during the opening credits. Obviously that was accidental.

Most of the extras are from the older DVD version, but there are a few new extras on the Blu-ray too, like the commentary from the cinematographer. Overall, if you're a fan of this film, the Blu-ray version is highly recommended.

Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, Revised and Updated Edition
Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, Revised and Updated Edition
by Leonard Maltin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.91
98 used & new from $5.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for the History of American Animated Theatrical Cartoons, July 12, 2009
Leonard Maltin wrote one of the best books on the history of what is now called the "golden age" of the Hollywood theatrical cartoons. (As should be clear by the cover of the book, which shows the silhouettes of famous cartoon characters, from the 20's to the 60's, in a movie theater.) The introduction of the book covers the silent era of cartoons, from the teens and twenties, but the main focus is on the sound era, from 1928 until the death of the animated theatrical shorts in the late 60's. A coda at the end covers the era of television animation briefly, from the 60's to the 80's (the updated version covers the 90's as well).

Each studio is given its own chapter, so that Disney, Warner Bros., Fleischer, Lantz, etc. are covered individually. Lesser know studios like Van Beuren, Terrytoons, Famous, and UPA are also given equal consideration. The back of the book has a filmography of all the cartoons by each studio.

I originally bought this book in the 80's, and re-read it so many times that the binding finally broke and pages spilled out. Thankfully, there was an updated version to replace the one I ruined. At the time, this was the only book to really delve into the history of my favorite cartoons, and I first learned about the individuals responsible for their creation from Maltin's efforts. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how cartoons starring such icons as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop and the Pink Panther came about.

The Big Combo
The Big Combo
DVD ~ Richard Conte
15 used & new from $4.07

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Sure to Get the DVD by Image, May 27, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Big Combo (DVD)
I'm a fan of this movie even though the plot is a little silly at times, and Cornell Wilde isn't the greatest of actors. However the film makes up for it's weaknesses in style. The cinematography and stark lighting are first rate. Plus it has Richard Conte, who is one of my favorite actors.

The Big Combo is in the public domain, and there are several versions available on DVD, so buyer beware. I recommend the one by Image Entertainment. Although the print used in their version has scratches in several scenes, it still has the best picture quality of all the PD DVDs out there. (Avoid the ones by Geneon Entertainment and Alpha Video. The Geneon version is interlaced, too.) Even so, the Image disc is a bare bones affair, with no extras. Maybe one day someone will do a proper restoration of the film and include an audio commentary by a film historian, but until then the Image DVD will have to do.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2016 4:02 AM PST

The golden age of looney tunes 5 disc set (laserdisc)
The golden age of looney tunes 5 disc set (laserdisc)
7 used & new from $29.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Source Before the DVDs, May 27, 2009
This laserdisc boxset of The Golden Age of Looney Tunes was once the best source for the classic cartoons before the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD boxsets were released. The laserdisc set wasn't remastered like the slicker DVD boxsets are -- the prints used were sometimes faded, and there are no extra features included. Instead, it contained 5 laserdiscs with over 8 hours of cartoons, with one disc side dedicated to directors such as Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones. The sets were released by MGM/UA Home Video, and comprise the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from 1933-1948, which Ted Turner owned the rights to at the time. (This meant that none of the more familiar classic LT's from the 50's like What's Opera Doc? or Duck Dodgers were included. They were released separately on laserdiscs by Warner Home Video.) The artwork on the box covers and insets were far more appealing than the garish artwork presented on the DVD versions.

A handful of the cartoons on the laserdisc boxsets still aren't available on DVD as of this writing, such as the cartoons starring an aborigine called Inki, who hunts a Minah bird in several outings. **Also, on the first volume the very politically incorrect wartime cartoon Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips was included!** The set was recalled after Turner received an irate consumer complaint about the cartoon, and it was replaced with Racketeer Rabbit instead. If you are going to buy a used copy of this set, be sure to find out if it contains the offending cartoon or the replacement. (The only way to know for sure is if the seller has viewed the item. The listing on the box still has Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips even on the replacement sets.)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2016 1:20 AM PDT

The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection
The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection
DVD ~ Mel Blanc
Price: $17.79
31 used & new from $11.44

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rare Classics finally on DVD, May 16, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This DVD is a great representation of the Walter Lantz Studio: in addition to Woody Woodpecker's best cartoons are the rarely seen surreal, black and white Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts from the 30's, the jazzy Swing Symphonies of the 40's, and four classic Tex Avery directed cartoons from the 50's. They are presented under their own theme heading in chronological order, uncensored, making it easier to see the progression of the characters and the studio as a whole.

In my opinion, the period between 1943 to 1948 represents the high point of quality at the Lantz Studio, and most of those cartoons are contained on this DVD. The Lantz cartoons vacillated between Disney cuteness (Andy Panda) and Warner Bros. rowdyism (Woody Woodpecker), but was neither as slick as Disney, nor as truly funny as the Looney Tunes. However, they are still quite good, even if they don't measure up to the best of those other two studios. If you love classic animated cartoons, then this set is a great bargain. Woody is at his anarchistic apex in the 40's cartoons, and it's a revelation if one has only seen the tamer, poorly animated Woody from the 50's. (Like The Simpsons today, a lot of cartoons from the 40's were not meant for small children. Some of the cartoons on this set contain ethnic humor, good ol' fun slapstick violence, "cheesecake" sexy girls, drinking and other sublime pleasures.)

While the selection of the cartoons is topnotch, the set is not perfect. Nearly half of the cartoons are slightly marred by the DVNR (digital video noise reduction) process, which "smears" the ink lines on the characters (apparently, the computer assumes the ink line to be scratches on the film and "erases" them). I've seen worse on other sets, but it's still noticeable here to those with a sharp eye. Some of the prints are high in contrast and the film grain is quite prominent. It's a shame Universal didn't do a proper restoration, as these cartoons would definitely benefit with their glorious full technicolor hues at their sharpest. Still, this set is the only way you can see the cartoons these days, so I highly recommend it.

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